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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 May, 2003, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Newcastle reach Champions League
Hugo Viana scored a superb free-kick
Viana celebrates scoring
Newcastle 1-0 Birmingham

Newcastle sealed their place in next season's Champions League with a narrow victory over Birmingham at St James' Park.

Hugo Viana scored with an excellent free-kick moments after Matthew Upson was dismissed for tangling with Craig Bellamy.

It was the decisive moment in the match but Birmingham, who had won seven of their previous nine Premiership fixtures, remained in touch despite playing over half the match with a numerical disadvantage.

And Steve Bruce's team might have enjoyed a share of the spoils but for a couple of good saves from Shay Given.

The Newcastle celebrations started prior to kick-off when Alan Shearer was awarded with no less than six awards, including Premiership player of the decade.

KEY MOMENTS
41 mins: Upson is sent-off
42 mins: Viana scores a superb free-kick
69 mins: Ameobi hits the crossbar
The Magpies then took to the field wearing their new home strip, but the end-of-season party atmosphere was temporarily on hold as the supporters waited 18 minutes for the game's first real chance, which fell to Bellamy.

The Wales striker was played through on goal by Shola Ameobi, but Bellamy momentarily hesitated and Blues goalkeeper Ian Bennett smothered the ball at his feet.

Damien Johnson forced Given into action with a powerful header the Republic of Ireland international managed to tip around his post.

Nolberto Solano then volleyed before Bellamy shot wide from 15 yards as Newcastle attempted to mount a period of sustained pressure.

The match turned on a controversial decision from referee David Elleray, officiating in his final Premiership match.

Mathew Upson tangled with Bellamy 20 yards from his own goal and, after consulting with his assistant, Elleray awarded the Blues defender a red card.

Alan Shearer received six awards before the match, including the Premiership player of the decade
Shearer received the Premiership player of the decade award
From the resulting free-kick Viana put his team in front with a superb left-footed striker.

Buoyed by their goal, Newcastle opened the second half confidently and Kieron Dyer had two early opportunities.

And Shola Ameobi came within inches of doubling his team's lead, but the young striker's header crashed back off the crossbar.

Birmingham might have snatched a point through inspirational French forward Christophe Dugarry, but his effort was foiled by Given.

Ameobi should have extended Newcastle's lead but managed to clear the crossbar from four yards after excellent approach work from Bellamy.

Viana, Bellamy and Ameobi all went close in the closing stages but the home team could not add to their first-half goal.


Newcastle: Given, Hughes, Caldwell, Woodgate, Bernard, Solano (Kerr 81), Dyer, Jenas, Viana (Robert 86), Bellamy, Ameobi. Subs not used: Harper, Bramble, LuaLua.

Birmingham: Bennett, Kenna (Michael Johnson 45), Purse, Upson, Clapham, Damien Johnson, Savage (Lazaridis 72), Clemence, Hughes, Horsfield, Dugarry (John 81). Subs not used: Marriott, Devlin.
Sent off: Upson (41).
Booked: Dugarry, Hughes.

Attendance: 52,146.

Referee: D Elleray (Middlesex).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's John Murray
"Newcastle may be title contenders next year"


Newcastle boss Bobby Robson
"It's been a fantastic season"



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